Friday, April 22, 2011


Some projects mature with age, and this one in particular traveled the love/hate highway before morphing into one of my favorite art quilts.  Oddly, the few people who saw this piece during the beading phase definitely liked it while I remained less than thrilled with it.

The journey began four or five years ago during my first experimentation with hand dyeing fabrics.  Later I doodled a freestyle design on the surface using colored fabric markers.  Recently I dug into my stash of surface designed fabrics and decided to make an art quilt with this piece.

Some of the markers showed rather pale so I layered the top with batting and a backing and began free motion quilting all of the design elements with black thread to help define the shapes.  Using a machine button hole stitch to secure the raw edges helped keep the quilt squared and less inclined to warp with handling.

The resulting thread work contrast improved the look but remained somewhat lifeless to me.  Since beading was one of the reasons I took up art quilting, I thought this was a perfect surface to showcase beads for interest, texture and added pizazz.  This is truly one of the rare times in art where 'more was better'!  Every time I thought I was finished with the beading, it called for more, more!  Even now I wonder if I should have added beads to the center of the 'zentipede', but held off, knowing I can later if it really bothers me.
 "Zentipede" by Judy Wedemeyer (24" x 17")
The design is interesting regardless of the direction it is hung, so with that in mind I chose not to sign the front of the quilt.  With so many beads attached I didn't want the weight to pull on the fabric when on display, therefore I created a sturdy fabric backing to attach the art quilt to.  I applied a contrasting wine colored accent fabric to both sides of a fusible stiff stabilizer (like Tim Tex), and then satin stitched the edges with black thread.  Not wishing to detract from the button hole stitch around the quilt edge, I straight stitched the quilt to the backing using a smoke colored mono filament thread.  If it shows any sign of sagging once it is hung, I will free motion quilt a few areas to stabilize it sufficiently.

The doodles I created on this fabric brought to mind my recent discovery of the term 'zen doodle' (aka zentangle), which further confirmed my idea that I, along with many artists, have always doodled long before the zen aspect was applied to it.  My daughter and I instantly recognized a centipede in my quilt design, so with that in mind a title was born!  Zentipede.


  1. I just love the story and the quilt! You've inspired me to pull out some old fabric that I hand dyed over 11 years ago :)

  2. Splendid Marguerita! We have a lot of fun inspiring one another. Can't wait to see what you do with your hand dyed fabric. I've got a pile of it left to experiment with myself. Can we say 'quilt retreat'. LOL